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Lunacy: Rival Affections


  06:31:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 1136 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Rival Affections

It had been a few days, now, since Ken took the trip down the Elevator. Laura was stir crazy. She hadn't had as much isolation training as astronauts usually received, nor had she had the same kind of lead time. So it was all hitting her at once, stuck at the small space port atop the Elevator, that she had signed her life away. She was going to get infected. That was basically a given, between the angry Station crew and her patient zero boyfriend. And once that happened, she wasn't going to be allowed back on Earth. No more Disneyland. No more orange juice popsicles. No more standing outdoors on a sunny day. She wanted to take the shuttle back to Earth, to finish school, and have kids that weren't covered head to toe in fur. But she wanted to see Paul more. She wanted to have his kids more- even if they came out furry. The Elevator lurched, and her stomach dipped. Or perhaps that feeling was dread that Paul might not be hers anymore. He slept with his ex-wife- his ex-wife who carried his child to term. And she'd seen the way his minxy little pilot eye-humped him. And she knew how hard it had been for her, back on Earth, at school- basically a roiling pot of angst and hormones. And speaking of his ex-wife, she was a super-strong, super-aggressive monster. Who was waiting at the bottom of the Elevator for her. Laura tried to force herself to stop shaking as the doors opened. ?I wanted to meet you here alone,? Maria said. She was sitting in a chair, rocking her child in her arm. ?Oh,? Laura said, taken aback. For one thing, Maria wasn't a giant wolf. For another, she was staring peacefully down at her son, and barely paid her any mind. ?You can pull up a seat,? Maria said. Laura did. ?Isn't he beautiful?? Maria asked. Laura smiled halfheartedly. Of course Paul's kid was beautiful. And so was his mother. ?What's his name?? Laura asked. ?Paul,? Maria said. ?It seemed fitting. And he looks like a chubby little Ken doll of him.? ?I can see that,? Laura said. It only made her miss him more. ?Sorry,? Maria said. ?New mom syndrome. I just... I can't stop staring at him, you know? The Station revolves around the Earth, and now my world revolves around his Jupiter of a head.? She stroked his hair, and the baby cooed, and stirred, but didn't wake. ?But I wanted to be able to talk to you before you saw anybody else.? Laura swallowed. And Maria smiled. ?Not to eat you, or intimidate you or anything. But I feel like I need to apologize. I- I left Paul. I don't know how much of it he told you about. But I left him for the Moon, and for my research and my career. And I left him with a giant hole where I'd been- and I left him like that because not leaving him like that would have left a similar hole in me. And I knew eventually he could fill his. It was selfish- maybe even bitchy. But it was never about malice. He's a great guy. In a different life I'd have dedicated my whole world to grinding his pelvis to dust while popping out an army of these adorable little things,? she held baby Paul up. ?But that world isn't this one. So I left him- and that left things unresolved between us. And even though it had been years, when I saw him, it just felt like it had been a long workweek where I stayed over at the lab to finish some research- not like we'd been estranged and divorced and on different orbital bodies.? ?But I'm trying to justify and defend myself because I know I screwed up. I slept with Paul. And I think I knew things were important with you, and selectively misunderstood that. And maybe there's a component to this disease that made Paul even more sexually magnetic, or maybe it's just that he'd been the primary balance in my spank bank the entire time I'd been up here.? ?It wasn't fair to Paul- though I'd call he and I even, since he got sex and I got the universe's screwiest STD. But it was fucked up that I did it to you, too. I felt so guilty since, and I wanted to apologize to you so badly. But I knew that was about me- and not you. And you didn't need to hear my apology the same way I felt like I needed to give it. So I didn't. Because you didn't need to hear my side- it didn't really matter.? ?But now you're here, and we'll be living together. The Station's big, and I get if you want to avoid the crap out of me. A little cold shouldering is probably better than I deserve. But I wanted to tell you how truly, deeply sorry I am. And I'm glad you're here. Because you make Paul happy. And all the crap that's happened over the last year, I love him enough to want him to be happy. And that won't be with me. I don't even know if I think it should be. Like I said- I left him. And that was always going to be there. You're the opposite. I left everything- Paul included- to come up here. And you left everything for him.? ?That's why I'm glad you're here. Paul deserves somebody who would do that. And you doing that- that tells me you deserve him, too.? Maria struggled to roll herself out of her seat. She walked towards the door into the rest of the Station. ?But I know you're probably already tired of me. So I arranged for my girlfriend to give you a tour of the facility- show you where the bathrooms and the food and the rest are.? ?Girlfriend?? Laura asked, as a petite Asian woman walked towards them. ?Paul ruined me for other men,? Maria joked. ?Or I just happened to fall in love with a woman.? Mai kissed her on the lips. ?This is Mai. Mai, Laura.? ?How'd it go?? Mai asked quietly. ?She didn't hit me,? Maria said. ?You were holding a baby,? Laura said. Then she smiled. ?Aw,? Mai said, disappointed. ?You had my hopes up for a cat fight for a second there.? ?That would have left you holding the diaper bag,? Maria said, and held up baby Paul for emphasis. ?And a very soon to be full diaper bag, by the smell of him.? ?Yeah, I think diaper changing would have killed the mood,? Mai said. ?Come on,? she said to Laura. ?I'll take you to the best junk food we've got.?

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